IndexNow: The Internet’s Saving Grace, or a New Nuisance?
Let’s say you added a new page to your website. Or, you added up-to-date information to an existing page. You took on recommended SEO procedures; you included the best keywords or -phrases that encompass your content perfectly! But, as we said in our Google Indexing article, Google has to put your page in a queue. So, your new or updated website content won’t rank for a while, which is a shame considering the effort you poured into it! And that’s why Bing launched the protocol IndexNow, which directs search engines to specified pages. In addition, IndexNow lets search engines know about changes in content on particular domains immediately after said content has been added, altered, or even deleted.
As a protocol, IndexNow allows site owners to direct search engines to their domains after adding or updating content. So, IndexNow helps search engines find said changes! Then, the new and updated website content gets reflected in Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.
Why IndexNow is good news
Not only is IndexNow an open-source project, but it aims to make the process of crawling and indexing content more efficient, saving time for both search engines and content publishers!
Search engines will regularly crawl web pages no matter their status! It’s pretty time-consuming to have search engines crawl every page, even if it hasn’t changed in a while. But, of course, part of IndexNow’s protocol ensures that squeaky wheels get the grease they deserve. As soon as the content publisher requests it, URLs that need to be crawled get priority!
Additionally, IndexNow can help with saving resources! As Search Engine Journal says, crawling pages that haven’t changed is “like watering a lawn during a rainstorm.” Thus, IndexNow cuts down waiting time instead of waiting days or even weeks for Google to discover, crawl, render, and index content.
Also, the process of crawling and indexing has remained unchanged for a long while. So IndexNow’s process might be a step in the right direction!
Why it’s not-so-good news
While IndexNow has its benefits, some don’t see them. As it turns out, the protocol IndexNow isn’t a revolutionary thing as XML sitemaps can streamline the crawling process.
Now, an XML sitemap is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a map of your website; it details all the URLs of your content from pages to site files! Sitemaps can direct search engines to content that needs indexing with no issues. But, of course, Yoast automatically generates such sitemaps and even pings search engines about any website content changes. However, you can even create an XML sitemap in WordPress.
As a result, IndexNow is redundant — at least for some sites. Websites with over a hundred pages might see the benefit of IndexNow. However, the scale of IndexNow is probably too much for smaller sites. Websites with less than a hundred pages could get away with using an XML sitemap.
Additionally, Microsoft hasn’t stated the exact time frame for picking up new or updated website content. Plus, IndexNow could also eliminate ‘importance.’ That is, website pages won’t get crawled because of their value. Instead, website content publishers can have their pages crawled via requests.
IndexNow’s Implementation Steps
According to its page on Microsoft Bing, here’s how IndexNow’s Implementation Steps go:
Step 1: Generate an API Key.
You start the Implementation process with an Application Programming Interface key or API key. You need one to “match the ownership of the domain along with submitted URLs” The API Key should have a minimum of eight characters!
Step 2: Host the API key!
After getting your API key, it’s time to host it on the root directory! (Of course, it has to be in txt format.) Hosting your API key will help verify the ownership of the URLs you submitted!
Step 3: Submit the URL(s) of your choice.
After getting your API key processes squared away, Webmasters can submit their URLs! Submissions can be made individually or in bulk URLs. Don’t forget to submit your key location! IndexNow needs it as a URL parameter.
Step 4: Get details on the URLs
You’ll need to sign in to get the full details of your submitted URLs! But, once you’ve done that, the URLs become discoverable. Also, you can check them out in the Bing Webmaster Tools Portal.
Top tips for IndexNow
Also, here are a couple of IndexNow’s best practices:
- Send the URLs as soon as changes in the new or updated content occur.
- Sending many URLs is acceptable. However, continuously sending many URLs will affect your ranking.
- Avoid sending spam URLs!
- Make sure to follow Bing’s webmaster content guidelines!
What are your thoughts on the protocol?
The protocol IndexNow helps search engines prioritize website content to crawl. IndexNow cuts down waiting time. Also, IndexNow lessens the resources to be expended!
The general crawling and indexing process hasn’t changed, but IndexNow could bring about some needed change. However, not every content publisher shares the same sentiment. First, a decent XML sitemap could do the job for sites with less than a hundred pages. Also, IndexNow will eliminate the feature of search engines choosing to crawl ‘important’ URLs.
Thus, while IndexNow could represent a more efficient future process for crawling and indexing website content, it isn’t for every publisher. Many do not find the protocol helpful, but others might.